This is the first post in a series where I’ve taken a recipe from one of this Christmas’ best selling cookbooks, tested them, and written them to suit the barbecue. One of my goals for this series is to show that pretty much anything can be cooked on your grill, and that to cook something different on the barbecue you don’t just have to take inspiration from your favourite grilling cookbook. We all have our favourite recipes and as I found yet again this weekend, it was great to be outside on a bright, crisp Winters day getting some fresh air and having a culinary adventure in the process!
Down to business, who doesn’t like a hearty sausage casserole on a chilly day?! The days are getting longer (slowly…), we’re at that point in the year where we can look forward to new adventures that lay in-store over the months ahead, and some of these adventures can take place right outside your own backdoor! This recipe is taken from Joe Wicks book Cooking for Family & Friends, and as such the portions are lavish, and the dishes are meant for larger tables. This recipe would feed 4-6 depending in appetites, but if you are cooking for smaller numbers simply cut the quantities accordingly but follow the same method to food heaven!
*The only substitution I made was cold-pressed rapeseed oil for the coconut oil, simply because I don’t like the taste it gives to sauted vegetables.
Specialist equipment: You’ll see I used a Weber cast-iron Wok accessory to create this dish but other large cast iron Dutch ovens or large skillets will work just as well. If you do use some of your day-to-day kitchenware, do know that sometimes marks and burns appear from cooking on the barbecue that don’t come off, no matter the amount of elbow grease you apply…you’ve been warned!
- 2tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- 12 thick butchers sausages
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, flattened with the side of a knife and left whole
- 2 large sprigs of rosemary
- 400g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
- 1 courgette, cut into 1cm slices
- 200ml red wine
- 200ml chicken stock
- 125g ready-to-eat puy lentils
- 4 large handfuls of kale, stalks removed
- Setup your BBQ for 180c direct heat, but if using charcoal baskets leave a slight gap in the middle to prevent the wok from getting too hot. While you want to get a sizzle on your sausage, cooking them too fast may cause the skins to split and it’s always good to be in control.
*If using a gas grill have the middle burner on low with the 2 outer burners on medium.
*If using a ceramic grill, insert the heat deflector as this is an indirect cook rather than a straight grill.
- Preheat your cast-iron wok/Dutch oven for 10 minutes with the lid closed.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and begin to brown the sausages. If your pan is overcrowded cook the sausages in 2 batches. They should be on a steady sizzle and brown up nicely, but do keep an eye on them. If things are cooking too quickly, drag the baskets out a little or turn the middle burned right down/off.
The sausages I used had a high meat content and didn’t give off much rendered fat. This meant the pan got a little dry so if this happens just added 1 tsp of oil to prevent the pan from drying out.
When the sausages are browned all over, remove to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 tsp of oil and fry off the onion, garlic and rosemary. Fry, stirring every now and then for 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften.
- Increase the heat slightly and add in the mushrooms and courgettes slices, tossing them in the onion mixture and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Return the sausages and add the red wine. Close the lid and allow the liquid to reduce by a third. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 25 minutes with the lid down. Watch the liquor doesn’t reduce too much, but if it does just add a splash of water. After 25 minutes check the core temperature of the sausages with a digital temperature probe for 75c.
- Stir in the lentils and picked kale and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the kale is cooked to your liking. Serve up and tuck in!
I served this with some sweet potatoes I roasted around the outside of the wok, over the indirect heat, as the casserole was cooking. I have to say this recipe is really tasty and the puy lentils and kale make a nice addition. Sausage casseroles are always cooked in a moderate roasting heat no higher than 180c, but because we were adding cold wine and stock to simmer down, a little bit of gentle direct heat beneath the pan was just what was needed to keep everything cooking nicely.
Verdict: A straight-forward and very tasty recipe that I will definitely be recreating again whatever the weather but certainly if I’m in need of some warming comfort food on a chilly winters day so Thanks Joe!